International (MNN) – Jesus commissioned his followers to make him known to all nations. Even so, there are 7,000 people groups around the world who are unengaged with the Gospel. Only 0.3% of the Church’s resources given to missions are focused on areas of the world where the Church doesn’t already exist.
The Issachar Initiative recently held a conference to highlight the movement of the Gospel worldwide and the groups of people who have not yet heard about Jesus. DOOR International is one participant in the initiative.
“We’ve had 2,000 years since Jesus walked this earth and yet it’s amazing that there are so many people groups who have yet to experience the amazing transformation the Gospel can provide,” Rob Myers of DOOR says.
He says, “The Issachar Initiative is actually a collection of different organizations that recognize that we have the potential right now to see within our lifetime—within our generation—the Great Commission actually happen.”
The Issachar Initiative is a way for mission organizations and leaders of the marketplace to pool resources so that all nations can hear the Good News of Jesus to complete his mission. Myers says while mission groups already are in or near the areas they need to be, the marketplace leaders bring innovation, creativity, accountability, and encouragement.
“All of us need one another and there’s no way that any one ministry or any one marketplace person can achieve this incredibly large goal.”
Those mentioned on the list of unreached people groups are not necessarily people living in isolation in the middle of the jungle. They may be isolated, but it’s for a variety of reasons.
DOOR International serves a very large group of people who haven’t engaged with the Bible. They are the deaf community, made up of about 70 million people worldwide. Less than two-percent of them know Jesus.
“You may be surprised to learn that some of those groups are really close to home. The deaf here in the United States,” Myers says.
DOOR International focuses on translating Scripture into sign languages and training leaders in the deaf communities to reach their own people. Myers stresses that this group is not considered an unreached group due to disability, but because they are a linguistic minority.
He says, “They’re on these lists because they grow up many times without written language, without spoken language. As a listener to this, if you think about how you first learned English, you grew up and actually became fluent in English probably by the age of three or four and then later learned to read and write the English language.”
There are over 400 sign languages in the world which constitute the heart language of millions of people.
Count for Zero
This year, DOOR was invited to be a Count for Zero partner at the Issachar Initiative. “We want to see the number of people groups that currently number in the hundreds that have no workers, no access to Scripture, no JESUS Film, we want to see that number eventually reach zero,” Myers explains.
At the conference, a deaf presenter shared from his own perspective on the needs of deaf communities. He explained that if his interpreter were to stop translating for the audience, they would have to guess what he was saying and respond accordingly. Similarly, he explained, well-meaning organizations in the past had tried to guess the needs of deaf communities and meet them. But, they would usually miss the mark.
DOOR is partnering with several other organizations to make sure they’re asking leaders of the deaf community what their real needs are. Then they can provide the appropriate resources to these communities so the Gospel can be shared effectively.
DOOR encourages business leaders and mission groups to get involved in what the Issachar Initiative is trying to do. There are some helpful resources you can use as a starting place.
There is also a list of people groups who are unreached and unengaged with the Gospel. You can find that here.
How you can help
If you’d like to learn more about DOOR and their partnering organizations, click here.
“The involvement in the Great Commission begins with a passion for the lost, so everything we do begins with desiring to see others come to a knowledge of Christ the way we have,” Myers says.
He encourages you to get informed and learn where you can best focus your resources and passions. One very important thing to do after you learn about a people group is to help advocate their cause.
If the idea of missions is intimidating, consider what Myers has to say: “Fulfilling the Great Commission, especially as an American, doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to pack up and move across the world, even though God calls us to do that sometimes. Sometimes it means resourcing and supporting people who are already there, who live in country, who grow up in that culture and who can reach their own people very easily but they just need support and encouragement and some of the resources that we have to provide.”
Myers says he is grateful for those who partner with DOOR with the desire to see the 70 million deaf reached. Over the last 10 years, they have been able to reach about 7.3 million people with Scripture in their heart language. In the next 10 years, they desire to see half of the population reached with the Gospel and to have churches planted.
“If deaf people come on your radar screen at all and you have a desire to see them reached, please contact us and please find out how you can become part of this amazing movement that God is doing.”